Osama bin Laden

Saudi terrorist and co-founder of al-Qaeda (1957–2011)
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Osama bin Muhammad bin Awad bin Laden (Arabic: أسامة بن محمد بن عوض بن لادن, romanized: Usāma bin Muḥammad bin ‘Awaḍ bin Lādin English: Osama, who is the son of Muhammad, who is the son of Awad, who is the son of Ladin; 10 March 1957 – 2 May 2011) was the founder of al-Qaeda, the Sunni militant Islamist organization that claimed responsibility for the September 11 attacks on the United States. It is also responsible of many other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets.[1][2][3] He was a Saudi Arabian, a member of the wealthy bin Laden family, and an ethnic Yemeni Kindite.[4]

Osama Bin Laden
أسامة بن لادن
Osama bin Laden in the 1990s
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden

(1957-03-10)10 March 1957
Died2 May 2011(2011-05-02) (aged 54)
Cause of deathShooting
NationalitySaudi Arabian
Known forClaimed responsibility for September 11 attacks
Height6'4" to 6'6"
SuccessorAyman al-Zawahiri
Spouse(s)Amal al-Sadah (m. 2000–2011)
Siham Sabar (m. 1987–2011)
Khairiah Sabar (m. 1985–2011)
Khadijah Sharif (m. 1983–1990)
Najwa bin Laden (m. 1974–2001)
show all (20)
  • Abdallah
  • Saad
  • Omar
  • Hamza
  • Abdul Rahman
  • Amer
  • Osman
  • Mohammed
  • Fatima
  • Iman
  • Laden
  • Rukhaiya
  • Nour
  • Ali
  • Safiyah
  • Aisha
  • Kadhija
  • Khalid
  • Miriam
  • Sumaiya
Parent(s)Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden,
Hamida al-Attas
Allegiance Al-Qaeda
Years of service1988–2011
Battles/warsSoviet war in Afghanistan

Global War on Terrorism:

Osama bin Laden's name can be transliterated in many ways. Usāmah bin Muhammad bin 'Awad bin Lādin (Arabic: أسامة بن محمد بن عوض بنلادن), shortened to Usama bin Laden (أسامة بن لادن).

The form used here, Osama bin Laden, is used by most English-language mass media. This includes CNN and the BBC. The FBI and Fox News use Usama bin Laden. Often the name is abbreviated to UBL.

The bin Laden family (or "Binladin," as they like to be called) usually use the name as a surname in the Western style. The family company is known as the Binladin Brothers for Contracting and Industry. It is one of the largest corporations in Saudi Arabia.

 Osama Bin Laden 



Early life and Career


He was born in the bin Laden family to billionaire Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden in Saudi Arabia. He studied there in college until 1979, when he joined the mujahideen forces in Afghanistan against the Soviets in Afghanistan. He helped to fund the mujahideen by funneling arms, money and fighters from the Arab world into Afghanistan, also gaining popularity from many Arabs.[5] In 1988, he formed al-Qaeda.[6]

He was banished from Saudi Arabia in 1992, and shifted his base to Sudan, until US pressure forced him to leave Sudan in 1996. After establishing a new base in Afghanistan, he declared a war against the United States, initiating a series of bombings and related attacks.[7] Bin Laden was on the American Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) lists of Ten Most Wanted Fugitives and Most Wanted Terrorists for his involvement in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings.[8][9][10]

From 2001 to 2011, bin Laden was a major target of the War on Terror, as the FBI placed a $25 million reward on him in their search for him. On May 2, 2011, bin Laden was shot and killed inside a private residential compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, by members of the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group and Central Intelligence Agency operatives in a covert operation ordered by U.S. President Barack Obama.[11][12]



Bin Laden was first married at the age of 17 to a Syrian cousin.[13] Her name was Najwa Ghanem. She was probably two years younger than he. They had 11 children. Najwa left bin Laden just before 9/11.[14]

He was married to Khadijah (1983–1995, divorced). His next wife was Khairiah (1985–2011, his death). His fourth wife was Siham (1987–2011, his death). He was married to unknown woman in 1996 but the marriage was annulled within a few days. His last wife was Amal (2000–2011, his death).[14] There were a total of nine children from these later marriages, making 20 in all.

Beliefs and ideology


Bin Laden probably believed that the restoration of Sharia law would set things right in the Muslim world, and that all other ideologies—"pan-Arabism, socialism, communism, democracy"—must be opposed.[15] These beliefs, along with violent expansive jihad, have sometimes been called Qutbism.[16]

He believed Afghanistan under the rule of Mullah Omar's Taliban was "the only Islamic country" in the Muslim world.[17] Bin Laden had consistently talked about his belief in the need for violent jihad to make right what he believed are injustices against Muslims perpetrated by the United States and sometimes by other non-Muslim states,[18] the need to eliminate the state of Israel, and the necessity of forcing the US to withdraw from the Middle East. He had also called on Americans to "reject the immoral acts of fornication and homosexuality, intoxicants (e.g. alcohol), gambling, and usury" in an October 2002 letter.[19]

One of Bin Laden's most infamous beliefs was that civilians, including women and children, are legitimate targets of jihad.[20][21] Bin Laden was antisemitic, and had delivered warnings against alleged Jewish conspiracies: "These Jews are masters of usury and leaders in treachery. They will leave you nothing, either in this world or the next".[22] Shia Muslims have been listed along with "Heretics,... America and Israel," as the four principal "enemies of Islam" at the ideology classes of bin Laden's Al-Qaeda organization.[23]p303

In keeping with Wahhabi beliefs (the Saudi type of Islam),[24] bin Laden opposed music on religious grounds,[23]p167 and his attitude towards technology was mixed. He was interested in "earth-moving machinery and genetic engineering of plants" on the one hand, but rejected "chilled water" on the other.[23]p172

His viewpoints and methods of achieving them led to him been designated as a terrorist by scholars,[25][26] journalists from the New York Times,[27][28] the British Broadcasting Corporation,[29] Qatari news station Al Jazeera,[30] analysts such as Peter Bergen,[31] Michael Scheuer,[32] Marc Sageman,[33] and Bruce Hoffman[34][35] and he was indicted on terrorism charges by law enforcement agencies in Madrid, New York City, and Tripoli.[36] He stayed in hiding until he was killed by the United States in Pakistan, in May 2011.


White House staff wait for news.

U.S. President Barack Obama launched a mission, "Operation Neptune Spear", where United States Special Operation forces raided bin Laden's hideout compound. On the night of 2 May 2011 (Pakistani time; 1 May 2011 U.S. time), bin Laden was killed by bullets to the chest and head. His body was buried at sea later that day so there would be no grave.


  1. "Death of Osama bin Ladin". Pakistani Ministry Of Foreign Affairs. May 1, 2011. Archived from the original on May 23, 2012. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  2. Baker, Peter; Cooper, Helene; Mazzetti, Mark (May 1, 2011). "Bin Laden Dead, US Officials Say". The New York Times.
  3. Aleem Maqbool. "Osama Bin Laden, al Qaeda leader, dead – Barack Obama". May 1, 2011. BBC News Online. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  4. Scheuer, Michael (February 7, 2008). "Yemen still close to al Qaeda's heart". Asia Times. Archived from the original on July 2, 2016. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  5. Robert Fisk (2005). The Great War For Civilisation, p. 4.
  6. United States v. Usama bin Laden et al., S (7) 98 Cr. 1023, Testimony of Jamal Ahmed Mohamed al-Fadl (S.D.N.Y. February 6, 2001).
  7. Robert Fisk (2005). The Great War For Civilisation, p. 22.
  8. "FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives". FBI.gov. Archived from the original on January 3, 2008. Retrieved May 26, 2010.
  9. Dan Eggen (August 28, 2006). "Bin Laden, Most Wanted For Embassy Bombings?". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  10. "Most wanted terrorists list released". CNN. October 10, 2001. Retrieved December 31, 2013.[permanent dead link]
  11. "Bin Laden Dead, US Officials Say". The New York Times.
  12. Stein, Sam; Bendery, Jennifer (2 May 2011). "Osama Bin Laden Dead, Obama Announces" – via Huff Post.
  13. "Osama bin Laden Fast Facts - CNN News.com". CNN.com. 30 August 2013. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Todd, Brian; Lister, Tim. "Bin Laden's wives – and daughter who would 'kill enemies of Islam'". CNN. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  15. Messages, 2005, p. 218. "Resist the New Rome, audiotape delivered to al-Jazeera and broadcast by it on 2004-01-04.
  16. Dale C. Eikmeier (Spring 2007). "Qutbism: an ideology of Islamic-fascism". Parameters. pp. 85–98. Archived from the original on 2007-06-09. Retrieved 2010-05-26.
  17. Messages, (2005), p. 143. from an interview published in Al-Quds Al-Arabi in London November 12, 2001 (originally published in Pakistani daily, Ausaf, Nov. 7).
  18. Messages to the World, (2005), pp. xix, xx, editor Bruce Lawrence.
  19. October 6, 2002. Appeared in Al-Qala'a website and then the London Observer 2002-11-24.
  20. Messages, 2005. p70. Al Jazeera interview, December 1998, after the Kenya and Tanzania embassy attacks.
  21. Messages, (2005), p. 119, October 21, 2001 interview with Taysir Alluni of Al Jazeera.
  22. Messages, (2005), p. 190. from 53-minute audiotape that was circulated on various websites, dated February 14, 2003. "Among a Band of Knights."
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Wright, Lawrence 2006. The looming tower : Al-Qaeda and the road to 9/11. New York: Knopf.
  24. Klebnikov, Paul (September 14, 2001). "Who Is Osama bin Laden?". Forbes. Retrieved 2010-05-26.
  25. John Randal 2005. Osama: the making of a terrorist Tauris.
  26. A Capitol Idea Donald E. Abelson p. 208.
  27. Abby Goodnough (July 8, 2007). "Mysteries, legal and sartorial, at Padilla Trial". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-26.
  28. Michael R. Gordon (September 17, 2001). "After the attacks: the strategy; a new war and its scale". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-28.
  29. "Is global terror threat falling?". BBC News. May 21, 2008. Retrieved 2010-05-28.
  30. "Osama bin Laden's operation" has "perpetrated the worst act of terrorism ever witnessed on US soil".
  31. Peter L. Bergen 2006. The Osama bin Laden I know: an oral history of al Quaeda's leader. New York: Free Press, 2006
  32. Michael Scheuer 2006. Through our enemies' Eyes: Osama bin Laden, radical Islam, and the future of America Potomac Books.
  33. Marc Sageman 2008. Leaderless Jihad: terror networks in the twenty-first century University of Pennsylvania Press.
  34. Bruce Hoffman (Spring 2004). "Redefining Counterterrorism: the terrorist leader as CEO". RAND Review.
  35. Peter Brookes 2005. A devil's triangle: terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and rogue states Rowman & Littlefield.
  36. "Wanted: Usama Bin Laden". Interpol. Archived from the original on 2004-12-11. Retrieved 2010-05-28.